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Sawtooth Peak (12,343') from Mineral King

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Sawtooth Peak (12,343') from Mineral King

Postby wingding » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:09 am

Friday afternoon I drove up the long windy road to Mineral King in Sequoia National Park and slept in parking lot at the Sawtooth Pass Trailhead. It was cool outside when I woke up Saturday morning - you can tell that it's not summer anymore. I got going about 7 am and headed up the trail toward Monarch Lakes. I got to Lower Monarch Lake at just a little before 10 am and then headed toward Sawtooth Pass. It's a real sandy slog from Lower Monarch Lake to Sawtooth Pass. Just before the Pass I headed out along the ridge toward Sawtooth Peak. It took me 3 hours to do that short hike from Lower Monarch Lake to Sawtooth Peak, so a total of 6 hours to the peak from Mineral King. I looked in the register and saw that there had been two hikers on the peak earlier in the day and they had made it up there in 2 hours and 45 minutes (Bob Burd and Matthew Holliman) - that sure showed me how slow I was or maybe how fast they are. The view was great (although a bit smoky to the west) - especially from the top of the narrow summit block where I got a better view of Lost Canyon and across the Kern Divide. On the way down I spotted a good route directly down to Upper Monarch Lake and headed that way. It made the trip out a bit easier going that way and if I ever do Sawtooth again I'll probably go up that way.

Here are pictures from my hike:

http://kathywing.smugmug.com/gallery/1876458/1

I had planned to do another hike in the Mineral King area yesterday, but on the way out my big toe that still has a nail started to hurt pretty bad so I decided to head home on Sunday morning. On Wednesday this week I get my second big toenail removed - it's going to be so nice when both toes are without nails, but I'll have to find some press-on toenails for those occasions when I go sockless. :)



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Postby Shawn » Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:45 pm

Kathy -

Great job on Sawtooth!

Those other two guys are just super-human, those are not times of regular mortals (rather amazing tho).

You took the same route I did when I was up there. The only other choice I considered was heading across to Crystal Lakes and down the Crystal Lakes trail. As you can imagine, that slog in the sand up to the pass took it out of me - and just to rub it in we were up there on a hot day.

I really enjoyed your pictures. Monarch Lakes look really low? And it would seem that the car killing Marmots left your vehicle alone?

Shawn
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Postby quentinc » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:08 pm

Sawtooth was the first real peak that I climbed (as opposed to walking up a trail), so those pictures hold nice memories for me. Mineral King is a great place.
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Postby copeg » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:50 pm

Nice photos Kathy. Congrats on the summit!
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Postby wingding » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:48 pm

Shawn - The marmots were not hanging around the parking lot at all. I saw a few along the trail, but up at higher elevations and they looked fat and happy. I also saw 9 deer, 2 grouses, and one bear while up there.
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Postby Shawn » Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:10 pm

Kathy -

In my six or more travels to Mineral King the only time I've seen bear has been on the lower portion of the road; never in the "mountains".

I'm glad the car eating Marmots left your car alone. ;)
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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:46 pm

Nice photos. That place brings back fond memories. I only visited Mineral King once. It was in 1969 for my 10th birthday the only birthday I ever spent bagging a peak (my dad would score several of those later, including Seven Gables on his 60th). Sawtooth wasn't easy, though, and I was one hurting little kid. I don't see anything wrong with 6 hrs to do the 4500' feet of gain, especially with that sandy scree toward the top. I remember that as being a real slog. I was so exhausted I fell asleep on the summit. I then awoke to ID all the peaks on the skyline to the other Sierra Club trip members (yes I was already a serious Sierrageek by age 10). We too found a direct route down to Monarch Lakes, but I'm not sure the direct route would have been so fun going up. It was some great scree skiing going down, though. I recall doing Mineral Pk the next day (and being taught how to use an ice axe for the first time) and thinking that Mineral King was the best thing on Earth as we left the place. It's very odd that I haven't been back in 37 years since. To this day, my 10th birthday ranks as one my two best ever (my 27th might top it; that was the evening I met my wife).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:43 am

Great pics, Kathy! :)

They bring back some memories for me. In my Monarch trip report, I talked about how all of my photos from a 1990 trip had been stolen. Among those phots were the ones I took in Mineral King, which included a dayhike up Sawtooth. :( I do remember it was a great peak with an incredible view--and your photos certainly confirm that. (I also remember the sandy slog up to Sawtooth Pass--ugh.)
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Postby mountaineer » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:03 am

I've done Sawtooth twice, once from the saddly above Ampitheater Lake and once from Sawtooth Pass. I love that view looking down on Columbine from the summit.

On another note, 2:45 from the trail head or 2:45 from Monarch. If they said 2:45 from the trailhead, they're lying. ;)
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Postby madeintahoe » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:36 am

Kathy, Congratulations on Sawtooth! Beautiful pictures, I love Monarch Lake, very pretty. One day I will get over to the West side :)
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Postby wingding » Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:15 pm

2 hours and 45 minutes from the Trailhead - pretty amazing, but true.

They day hiked Black Kaweah the next day.
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Postby giantbrookie » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:44 am

wingding wrote:2 hours and 45 minutes from the Trailhead - pretty amazing, but true. They day hiked Black Kaweah the next day.


That's a pretty fast pace but not incomprehensible. I wouldn't do it unless someone offered me some very serious incentive--a keg of Sequoia's Rye IPA perhaps. With a good bribe I may still have that level of speed in me (barely).

I suspect, however, they were using it as a "warmup" for their Black Kaweah commando raid the next day, so they probably weren't going all out. No amount of Rye IPA would ever tempt me try that; I p-- in my pants at the mere mention of Black Kaweah. To do a technically difficult and dangerous peak at the end of that much hiking isn't anything I'd touch. Those folks are indeed pretty hardcore.

On the other hand, speed climbing is a rather time honored tradition in mountaineering (even if I'm not into it personally). I recall F. Spencer Chapman, a famous pre WWII British climber, first got himself recognized by his peers by winning this contest in Wales where I recall you had a certain fixed time (12hrs?, it's been awhile since I read his book) to climb as many peaks as you could. Now these are lower peaks (top out at 3500') but they are rugged and steep. I recall he ended up doing way over 10000 feet of gain (might have been more like 15000), and covering some otherworldly distance. And this would have probably been in the 20's or something like that so you know he had some pretty clunky equipment, but the fact they even had this contest way back then illustrates how long the tradition of speed climbing has been with us.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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